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The Husband Paperback – May 1, 2007

4 out of 5 stars 478 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Koontz (Forever Odd) is likely to have himself another bestseller in this pulse-pounding thriller with echoes of Hitchcock and Cornell Woolrich. One morning, Southern California gardener Mitchell Rafferty gets a call on his cellphone from a stranger saying that Mitch's beloved wife, Holly, has been kidnapped and that he has less than three days to come up with $2 million in cash. Of course, he's warned not to involve the police. While Mitch is still on the phone, the kidnapper proves his seriousness by directing Mitch's attention to a man walking a dog across the street. A moment later the man is shot dead. Mitch must walk a fine line—cooperating with the police inquiry into this murder without revealing Holly's plight. Koontz ratchets up the tension in a manner sure to captivate most readers, though some may find the ending anticlimactic. (May 30)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* It's another boring day in paradise for gardener Mitch Rafferty, planting impatiens on a rich client's lawn. Then his cell rings. It's Holly, his wife, and she doesn't sound good. Someone slaps her, she screams, and a man comes on to tell Mitch that he has 60 hours to raise $2 million to ransom her. Just so Mitch knows they mean business, the man says, see the guy walking a dog across the street? Mitch looks and blam! A bullet to the head kills the dog walker. Let this be a warning, too, that the kidnapper-killers will know if Mitch says word one to the cops about his predicament, and Holly will suffer. Where is a gardener supposed to get $2 million? The sinister caller says he'll let Mitch know; just be a good machine and follow instructions. Despite his terror, Mitch does until . . . But uh-uh-uh, nothing should be given away about this sinuous nail-biter's developments. Suffice it to say that Mitch's intensely warped family, managed according to his rigidly materialistic psychologist-father's theories; two betrayals, one of Mitch, the other of the kidnappers; a slick child pornography entrepreneur; a humane but persistent police detective; and a New Ager psychopath all help ratchet up the suspense and the violence. But Koontz focuses relentlessly on Mitch and, in chapters scattered judiciously throughout the latter 230 pages, Holly. Not for him the flirtation with evil thinking that an Elmore Leonard does so well or the temptation to sympathize with evildoers that an Alfred Hitchcock offers. And yet Koontz is no less an artist for his championing of the good and his determination to have readers identify with it, as this hair-raising thriller attests. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553589091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553589092
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (478 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,054,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As I read this novel I just kept thinking to myself that no one takes a bad, awful situation, and then makes it shockingly worse, better than Dean Koontz. When you think things are as bad as they can get, he ratchets down and you realize just how wrong you are. Things can get much worse, oh indeedy. Then, of course, he defies your comprehension and makes it worse again, and then again. Koontz does escalating tension and events better than anyone, and does it with such deceptively simple writing that his stories feel like terrifying roller-coaster rides: the hair curling build-up of tension, the shrieking plunge into depths of despair and hopelessness, then the shocking, violent twists and turns, and finally, heart-pounding and breast heaving, you safely glide to a controlled stop and the safe normal world you are accustomed to can resume again.

In The Husband, a simple gardener is interrupted while working by a cell call. His wife says she loves him and then abruptly screams in pain. A merciless voice comes on and informs him that they have his wife and they want $2 million. He only has $11,000 in his checking. Events unfold rapidly from there, and, as I said above, things slide from awful and impossible, to horrfyingly worse, through many lightning quick, and equally shocking, plot twists. Details about the kidnappers and Mitch's strange family are parceled out in tantalizing bits and pieces which make the bizarre and incomprehensible beginnings finally make sense.

Mr. Koontz has focused on themes of love, goodness, family, and kindness confronting evil, despair, and self-interest in many of his recent books and this one is no exception.
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Format: Hardcover
Once again, Mr. Koontz has given us a wonderful rollercoaster ride of action and suspense. The story opens with an outstanding scene in which an ordinary, nice man, owner of a small two-man landscaping business, is called on his cell and told that his wife has been kidnapped. A bystander is shot to show that the kidnappers are watching and mean business. And they expect Mitch, the main character, to obtain 2million dollars within a few days to get his wife back. It seems an impossible task. Along the way, Mitch meets with terrible betrayals as we learn his compelling family history, while his wife deals with strange, strange kidnappers. I don't want to say much more, lest I give away too much. But I do recommend this book highly. I bought it at 6pm last night and couldn't go to bed till I was finished reading it! It will keep you turning the pages anxiously trying to find out what will happen next!
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Format: Hardcover
What a start to this book. Mitch Rafferty is mindlessly working away planting red and purple impatiens for his client. Life is good and Mitch is an optimist. Then his world goes down the toilet. His cell phone rings. His wife Holly has been kidnapped. The caller tells Mitch he has 60 hours (not even three days) to raise $2 million dollars or his wife is a goner. To prove the will to kill, an innocent walking his dog is shot through the head. What an opening scene. Stephen King in Cell might have beaten Koontz on openings for stories but not by much.

The Husband reminded me a lot of his novel Velocity. Both grab the reader early. Both seem to be endlessly suspensful (a good thing). Both seem to have the protagonist is a situation that is hopeless. The Husband is its own story however and is worth you while to read.

Koontz has evolved as an author over the years. He is often unfairly maligned because of this evolution by readers that want the same dose of Koontz each time. His novels stand a lone as do his characters.

The Husband will twist you in knots and that is a good thing. Up and down, in and out, Mitch is forced to deal with the reality of what is happening. Damn, how would I raise $2 mil? You'll love the book.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the serious pitfalls of the so-called thriller is with the writer trying to pack ten pounds of jeopardy into a five-pound bag. Instead of adding to the horror and suspense, the story breaks into comedy. And that's not good at all. It's also exactly what happens here.

The characters are just a tiny bit unrealistic. Oh, maybe more than a tiny bit--the last kidnapper, for example. He's a foolish romantic with about a sixth-grade mentality but he is a nearly super criminal who is able to plan and carry out intricate actions. The hero's brother is even more unrealistic, a genius with the one-dimensional morality of a tiger. I never believed once in the people, after the first fifty pages or so.

But enough said. This starts well enough but goes steadily downhill into an improbable ending. By the way, what happened to the bag of money? Who ends up with it?
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Format: Hardcover
I haven't been overjoyed by some of Koontz's recent books like some other fans have, but The Husband sings with Koontz Mastery! I'm a very slow reader but I read this thick book over the course of three nights, which is amazingly fast for me. The motivation in this book is dead on.

In The Bible it talks about a man leaving his father's house, joining with his wife and they become ONE FLESH. This book illustrates that concept (and the meaning behind it) better than I've seen in countless other books.

When his wife is kidnapped, tortured as he listens helplessly, all Mitch can do is feel the pain of having half of his "flesh" ripped from him. Compliance is easy under the right terms. The killers know this and they use it to the fullest extent, driving Mitch to do the unthinkable.

Twists and turns were expected, then unexpected then expected then totally shocking. Even readers don't know who to trust in this roller coaster ride.

I LOVED this book and I'm glad to see Koontz back in the form that first attracted me to his writing!
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